Japan Tightens Crypto AML Starting Next Month – What To Expect?

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Japan, a pioneering nation in cryptocurrency adoption, is set to redefine the game by enforcing more rigorous Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations beginning June 1. This significant move was catalyzed by the country’s decision to adopt the globally acknowledged “Travel Rule”, an initiative to maintain a more precise record of dubious transactions.

On May 23, the Japanese parliament unanimously resolved to implement stricter AML protocols, as reported by the local media entity, Kyodo News. This initiative proactively attempts to align the nation’s legal framework with prevailing international cryptocurrency regulations.

Revamping AML Legislation: The Catalyst

The Japanese legislative body perceived the necessity to rectify the AML legislation last December when it was considered deficient by the esteemed international financial overseer, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Japan has incorporated the Travel Rule into its revised AML procedures to bolster their financial monitoring capabilities.

One of the hallmarks of these reformed measures is the implementation of the “Travel Rule”. This rule mandates any financial entity handling a cryptocurrency transfer exceeding $3,000 to transmit pertinent customer data to the recipient exchange or institution. 

Crucial information, such as the sender’s and recipient’s name and address, along with account details, will be included in the data shared.

G7 Summit and the Endorsement of the Travel Rule

The Travel Rule’s importance was recognized during a G7 Summit in Japan in mid-May. The G7 committee was unequivocal in supporting the Travel Rule’s application to cryptocurrency transactions. 

This summit also witnessed the endorsement of FATF’s initiatives to hasten the worldwide standards for cryptocurrencies, emphasizing the ‘Travel Rule,’ and shedding light on emerging risks, such as those arising from Decentralized Finance (DeFi) arrangements and peer-to-peer transactions.

Japan’s Evolving Stance on Cryptocurrency Regulations

Having been one of the early adopters of cryptocurrency and its legal recognition as property, Japan is renowned for having some of the most demanding regulations in the global crypto landscape. 

The country’s financial watchdog, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), has introduced stringent rules on crypto exchanges after significant breaches like those at Mt.Gox and Coincheck.

The FSA’s protective measures encompass various exchange rules, including the segregation of customer and company assets, the latter subject to annual audits. 

The FSA further imposes constraints on investors, disallowing borrowing of more than double their investments for leveraged trades on exchanges. Furthermore, licensed crypto exchanges must retain at least 95% of customer funds in cold wallets.

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